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September 19, 2019

Occupational Competency Standards Based Training

  • By Lokethar

Recently, news reports covered short-term training courses on food and beverage-related occupations. At the closing ceremony of Course No.2 at the Hlaingthayar Technical High School, under the Department of Vocational and Technical Education, Ministry of Education, the Union Minister of Education gave a speech in which he thanked the development patners and local sponsors for their help and assistance in conducting the courses.
The courses were in “Bread and Cakes Bakery”, “Western and Eastern Cuisines”, ”Coffee and Beverages”, which were attended by 18,17 & 19 trainees respectively making a total of 54 trainees. The course duration was 3 months at the Training Centre followed by 1 month on-the-job. It is learnt that more such courses will be held in cooperation with the Development Partners. That is indeed good news. Short, intensive training courses are a boon for meeting current needs of the labour market.

Workers at work in the production line of the Foster Electric Thilawa Co Ltd in Thilawa SEZ.  PHOTO: MNA

It was reported that the curricula of the courses were drawn up by the expert of Development Partner concerned together with the local experts incorporating the needs of the employers of the Industry.
As far as the training goes, such courses could perhaps be conducted in line with the Occupational Competency Standards developed and prescribed by the National Skills Standards Authority (NSSA) of Myanmar. The NSSA formed under the Employment and Skills Development Law of 2013 has drawn up and prescribed, on a priority basis, Occupational Competency Standards for some fifty plus “Occupations” in various fields. These norms were drawn up to meet international standards as prescribed by the Employment and Skills Development Law. They were drawn up by groups of Occupational Experts from various sources including the industry concerned. The standards are at four levels of Occupational Competency namely; Semi-skilled, Skilled, Advance Skilled and Supervisory levels. It’s a graded system where the trainees progressively acquire the Skills, Knowledge and Attitudes / Behaviour to function effectively in the Occupation concerned.
The Standards are made up of “Competency Units” and hence flexible to the extent that “Competency Units” may be added to include any specialized “Competencies” related to the “Occupation” concerned. For example for the OCS of “Western and Eastern Cuisines”, a Competency Unit of preparing “special food” of a particular country could be added on to the current OCS. Besides as these Standards are to be reviewed periodically and updated as required, any Institution can propose amendments to the OCSs for the consideration and of the NSSA in reviewing the OCSs.

Workers are seen at the assembly line of the Suzuki Thilawa Motor Co. Ltd at Thilawa SEZ. PHOTO: MNA

As the initial “Model OCSs” were drawn up under the ASEAN Skills Recognition Arrangement Project of (2002 – 2004) with the participation of CLMVT countries, they were designed to be acceptable by all members of ASEAN so that the Certificate of Recognition based on these Standards are portable across all ASEAN Member States. The present fifty plus OCSs were drawn up (and more are in the process of being drawn up) along the same lines. As these standards have been issued by the NSSA we can say that they are in fact national standards. It is hoped that they will form the lower levels of Qualifications of the National Qualification Framework which, it is understood, is being developed.
These standards are now being used by the NSSA for assessment of Competencies of existing skilled workers for the purpose of recognition of their skills at the level concerned. The system of Assessment and Certification is already in place .In fact, up to the present time hundreds of workers covering 51 different occupations have already been trained fast track to fill any gaps in their knowledge and skills and assessed by Certified Assessors under the supervision of the Assessment and Certification Body of the NSSA.
This will ensure the quality of their skills and acceptability by industry of the workers’ qualification in considering their up- ward mobility. It will also increase the lateral mobility of the skilled workers.
It would help matters with standardizing skills training by the various private and public TVET bodies if they were to base their curricula on the NSSA Standards.
It would also help the trainees after they enter employment to be assessed and certified by the Assessment and Certification Body of the NSSA and up on being found “Competent” to be issued with the Competency Certificates by the NSSA at the level of Competency assessed.

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